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Joyeux Thanksgiving

Dear Diva Readers,

From my house to yours this holiday season I want to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving – er, make that un Joyeux Thanksgiving, for today we’re celebrating with French style!  I tend to cook almost exclusively French cuisine (blame all those years of cooking classes at Le Ritz Escoffier and Le Cordon Bleu) so I tend to celebrate this American holiday à la française!

As an American living in Europe celebrating holidays abroad tends to take a slightly different tone than the way we celebrated back at home in the States.   My husband does not have a day off from work on Thanksgiving (after all it’s not a holiday where we live) so our celebration waits til the end of the day when he comes home after a day at the office.  Owning my own company – The Antiques Diva® & Co European Tours – allows me to exercise some control in my schedule and we close shop for the day in honor of the holiday as I hang up my flea market hat in exchange for the gorgeous apron my step-mother made for me a few years ago! 

 Today I’m making some great French Thanksgiving-style recipes from  Saveur to accompany the Truffle-Scented Cornish Game Hens with Prosciutto & Wild Mushrooms recipe I found on FineCooking.com.

I always find it interesting how other expats (foreigners living outside their home countries) celebrate their home countries holidays.  As my husband and I are both Americans, we share the history of Thanksgiving, but what about those Americans who’ve moved overseas and have gone native by marrying a local?  My good friends Stephanie & Allison – authors of the blog La Mom – have both married Frenchmen and in their popular blog talk about what it’s like to live in France, sharing anecdotes and revealing insider information on what it’s really like to be a Parisian.  Last year for Thanksgiving they were featured on French television to share how they celebrate Thanksgiving as American’s living in France.  I thought you’d enjoy watching Les Americans in Paris!  I’m utterly convinced these girls are going to get a TV show someday – but for now, this short video will have to suffice!In the meantime, I’ll have to love you and leave you – I’ve got a date with a bird!! For the recipe I’m using this year… keep reading!

The Antiques Diva®
(seen below with the authors of La Mom!)

Truffle-Scented Cornish Game Hens with Prosciutto & Wild Mushrooms

Recipe by Joanne Weir courtesy of Fine Cooking

Earthy mushrooms and rich, heady truffle oil make this dish a holiday standout. For the wild mushrooms, I like to use a mix of chanterelles, porcini, and morels.  Serves six.

6 Cornish game hens neck and giblets removed and discarded or saved for-stock, hens rinsed and patted dry

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 Tbs. unsalted butter

3/4 lb. fresh wild mushrooms, finely chopped

1-1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme

3 thin slices prosciutto (2 oz. total) cut into 1/4-inch dice

3 Tbs. white truffle oil

Season the cavity of each hen with salt and pepper. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 1 Tbs. of the butter. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and a few grinds of pepper. Add the thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are soft and the juices have evaporated, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool. Stir in the prosciutto and truffle oil.

Heat the oven to 425°F. Insert your fingertips at the wing end of the breast and gently loosen the skin over the breast and around the legs, being careful not to tear the skin. Divide the stuffing into six equal portions of about 2 Tbs. each. Place one portion of the stuffing under the skin and with your fingers, distribute it evenly over the breast and thigh. With kitchen twine, tie the legs together. Tuck the wings underneath. Repeat with each hen.

Arrange the birds breast side up on a wire rack set in a shallow roasting pan (or two). Melt the remaining 2 Tbs. butter and use half to brush over the hens. Season each hen with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes and brush with the remaining melted butter. Roast until the juices run clear when you prick the thickest part of the thigh and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thigh registers 170°F, another 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the hens to a platter, tent with foil, and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

2 Favorite French Blogs

Dear Diva Readers,

I’m making the rounds this week… and would like to give un très gros merci to 2 of my favorite French bloggers for giving The Antiques Diva & Co a shout out on their uber-hip blogs recently!!

The Antiques Diva & La Mom bloggers

My friends Stephanie & Allison, the authors of La Mom blog, are doing a sensational new series titled  VIP – Very Interesting Parisians where they interview everyone from author Elaine Sciolino of La Séduction to the French journalist William Réjault  (a man so interesting he even has his own Wikipedia entry).  Somehow in the midst of all these très intéressant Parisians, I managed to get interviewed for the series.  I’m still not sure how that happened – but think that having friends in high places (er, thanks Stephanie & Allison) might have helped secure me one of the coveted slots on La Mom blog! 

In my interview they asked hard-hitting questions, getting me to reveal answers to questions on my favorite French stores, restaurants, meals, drinks and more….  Not only will you learn a little about me in this interview but you’ll also learn some great addresses for shopping in the city along the Seine.  Merci La Mom for including me in your VIP List!

If you’re not already reading La Mom, you’ll want to add her to your blog roll – La Mom is actually Les Moms! Stephanie and Allison are two best friends in Paris blogging about what the tourists don’t see and “La Mom” is the character they’ve created who lives out an amalgam of Stephanie and Allison’s everyday (but extraordinary!) experiences raising Franco-American families in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.

Another great French blog to follow is The Carams blog, another joint venture between amies who happen to share a passion for photography.  Carina and Amanda’s blog allows you to follow their oh-so-picturesque French life through the lens of their cameras!  And – as I DO write a shopping blog – I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you that their site also allows incredible opportunities to buy handmade cards, photo’s d’art.

In addition to having a guest appearance on La Mom blog last month I was delighted to discover that Carams also gave me a shout out on their blog last month in an article title Brocantes – The Ultimate French Treasure Hunt Following is just one of Carina’s gorgeous photos of her recent trip to Lille.  If I know you like I think I do, I’m certain you’ll enjoy the great tips Carina gives on where to stop, shop and drop some dough at the brocantes and flea markets of France!

Merci Ladies for telling your readers about The Antiques Diva® & Co’s European antique shopping tours!

Au Revoir!
The Antiques Diva®

In The Press and Around the Blogosphere

Dear Diva Readers,

I feel like bursting into song, “Thanks for the memories….” Wait – make that “Thanks for the mentions…”! I’ve been overwhelmed these last 2 weeks by mentions In the Press and Around the Blogosphere! It started a few weekends ago when I was floating thru Rugen Island with my husband and felt a little vibration in my pocket. Google alert was buzzing on my Blackberry to let me know that I’d been featured in the quarterly print and digital magazine Fearless Woman Magazine – a publication committed to spotlighting successful women and giving valuable learning lessons to women currently defining and exploring their career paths.

The article – titled “Be A Reinvention Queen” – shared some background on how I shed my traditional career in advertising when I moved overseas and used my time abroad as the perfect opportunity to pursue my ideas and passions – even though it took me a while to decipher what these really were! Special thanks to author Andrea Martin of Expat Women.com for including me in her article for this new publication! In fact, I need to give Andrea Martin a round of applause and a huge Merci for she also included me this week in a series of 7 articles written for Expatica on 10 Tips for Expat Women in Switzerland!

As if that doesn’t have me smiling from ear to ear, I must tell you I was delighted that Lisa Porter of The Lisa Porter Collection was the very first blogger to include my new online brocante “Treasures” by The Antiques Diva™ as a link on her site in the section: “Inspiring New Places to Land.” Lisa must quite possibly be the most popular blogger in the blogosphere for I have so many hits coming from her site that I thought perhaps my stat-counter had gone haywire! Ms Lisa Porter is a lady to know and be known by. Huge thanks for sharing the info on my new venture, Lisa! For those of you who are not familiar with Lisa’s blog, you must add it to your Must Read List!

Speaking of special thanks, I was delighted that She’s Shopping Now featured my online brocante “Treasures” by The Antiques Diva™ in her recent Places to Shop for Mother’s Day Presents! Hint, hint people – our Mantique Collection (perfect for Father’s Day) is current being uploaded four times a week so keep popping over to the “Treasures” site for more online antique and vintage shopping opportunities! The author of the sensational blog She’s Shopping Now has been an off-and-on-long-term guest blogger here at The Antiques Diva site and is a bonne amie. I’m certain she gives quite possibly the best shopping advice world-wide!

Also, while I’m dolling out the thanks, I want to say Merci to La Mom blog – Tales of an American Mom Living in Paris – for including my online brocante in a recent blog post as well! Have you ever wondered what living in Paris is really like? What the tourists don’t see? Through La Mom’s blog you can get a glimpse into life in the most beautiful city on earth! See Paris like you’ve never seen it before!

Add these great bloggers and this new magazine to you reading list!!!

Thanks for the Memories!

The Antiques Diva™

Chic That Thing in Paris…. Guest Blog from La Mom!

The Antiques Diva sitting with La Mom (note her hidden identity means she had to vacate the chair before I could get someone to snap our picture…)!

With The Antiques Diva’s™ upcoming Paris Tours – The French Flea Market Extravaganza – I thought it was ONLY appropriate that here at Diva Enterprises we give you the Diva Dish on what the well-dressed woman is wearing in Paris these days. It certainly helps your packing for the trip and gives you a few items to add to your shopping list on the day we spend touring St Germain doing chic shopping!

When I first thought that it might be a nice idea to post a blog on “What to wear in Paris…” I thought, “Who better to deliver the message than La Parisian – La Mom?”

If you haven’t heard of “La Mom” let me first tell you…. You don’t have to be part of the “kiddy-set” to enjoy her posts. La Mom is an American expat who has been living in Paris’ 16th arrondissement for over a decade. She spends her days raising kids and her nights blogging about the French and the English-speaking expat world. Before setting down to her blog, I always pour myself a coup de champagne, kick off my high-heels and settle down for some juicy fun! Check out La Mom blog for the real deal about Parisian playdate protocol, snooty book clubs, and charming French foibles. La Mom’s your best friend in Paris minus the international phone bills!

Chic That Thing in Paris – La Mom’s 7 Tips For Parisianista Style

La Mom’s been living in Paris for a très long time. She learned Parisian chic years ago as La Single Girl by paying close attention to Parisian girlfriends. But you don’t have to have a BFF in Paris to steal some French style! Count on La Mom’s insider tips to make sure you take the Fashion Capital by storm on your next trip:

1. Get a Gerard Darel handbag
Don’t even think of leaving your Parisian apartment without your Darel! GD’s bags are all you need to go from day to night, from a Parc Monceau playdate to a Mom’s Night Out at L’Avenue. These bags can do double duty as diaper and evening bags. (Psst – chic Parisiennes discovered Gerard’s bags way before Eva Longoriaista did!)
2. Invest in a pair of Roger Vivier ballerina flats
If Jackie O, Liz Taylor, Sophia Loren, and Catherine Deneuve (the essence of Parisian chic) wear them – you should too. Or get a good imitation. They’re nothing less than jewelry for your feet. Best of all, they don’t pinch, pull, or give you blisters. Perfect for hoofing it to find the real antique deals with the Antiques Diva!

3. Go to H & M for the basics
Don’t want to spend a fortune on tops that will be out of style in six months? Then stock up on several trendy and affordable styles here. Even the most snooty Parisienne knows how to mix high and low fashion. Further proof that cheap can be chic!

4. Wear an unforgettable accessory
A chunky pearl necklace, a Celine or Chloé belt, an oversized Lalique crystal cocktail ring…nothing makes a statement like something simple yet unforgettable.
5. Don’t forget the scarf
Brrr…there’s a chill in the air when it’s time for France’s best antique fairs and brocantes! Lucky for us, nothing finishes an outfit like an eye-catching scarf. Whether it’s silk, cashmere, or knit, make sure it’s long enough to casually loop around your neck for a glamorous, “I just threw this on” Parisian look.

6. Buy a great pair of jeans
Yves Saint Laurent said it best, “I wish I had invented blue jeans. They have expression, modesty, sex appeal, simplicity – all I hope for in my clothes.” No matter what your budget, the Galeries Lafayette Jeans Bar has a great selection of jeans for everyone. You’ll be sure to find the pair that fit like a glove and make you feel like a million euros!

7. Go “Au Naturel”
Absolutely no perms, no fake acrylic nails, no war paint, no peroxide blond hair allowed. Parisiennes have mastered the old adage “Less is more”.

Mysteriously yours,

La Mom
(and don’t forget: you can find out my true identity when you book a 4 day Diva tour in Paris!)

An Interview with La Mom & The Antiques Diva – Visiting The Best Flea Market in France

Photo of The Antiques Diva & La Mom’s Empty Chair
The smell of ham mixed with hundreds-of-years-old antiques is in the air… It’s that time of year again when the Parisian’s mouths begin to water in anticipation of France’s best brocante. While in most countries “ham & antiques” isn’t a natural combination automatically going hand-in-hand, in France La Foire Nationale la Brocante et aux Jambon is the country’s largest antiques and gourmet food fair and it’s back again this fall in the Parisian suburb ile de Chatou between September 26 – Oct 4, 2009. La Parisian, La Mom, recently sat down with me and chatted about this fair, asking all those deep-probing, La Mom-esque questions!

To Read the Interview discussing THE BEST FLEA MARKET IN FRANCE,visit La Mom’s blog today!

If this interview Chez La Mom catches your attention, don’t forget that there’s still time to join me at my favorite flea market in France during the Fall French Flea Market Extravaganza! Better yet, book ahead – Email me toma@antiquesdiva.com for details on the upcoming Spring 2010 Trip to La Foire Nationale la Brocante et aux Jambon! And remember, though La Mom writes her blog incognito, she does offer Antiques Diva clients a chance at learning her secret identity. When you book a 4 day Paris Tour, La Mom makes a guest appearance at an ultra-exclusive local, revealing her secret identity to you and you alone!!! No camera’s or last names given, but you’ve got a free-for-all to query how she comes up with these sensational posts about La Vie a Paris!!!

Until next time,

The Antiques Diva™

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